Although we all try to avoid difficult people, it’s trickier to steer clear of a bad company when they own the property you live on. Having a lousy landlord can be an emotionally trying and hectic scenario, especially if the option of moving out isn’t feasible. Whether it’s not paying the bills or ignoring your calls for repairs, no tenant should have to badge their landlords to receive crumbs of their rights. Such circumstances can fray usual landlord-tenant relationships and even necessitate the need to hire a reputable lawyer.
Are you tired of putting up with a problematic property owner? Do you want to learn how to deal with harassment from landlords? Then, stick around till the end of this article to find out what to do when your landlord is harassing you and detailed actions you can take in specific scenarios.
What Is Landlord Harassment
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of how to resolve this particular issue, we have to ask what is landlord harassment? Some tenants might assume that their landlord’s actions cannot be concerned harassment until there’s physical violence. But according to landlord-tenant laws, even the threat of physical violence falls under the umbrella.
Landlord harassment is deliberately creating a hostile rental environment to make tenants uncomfortable. Such activities often include delaying repair tasks, issuing an inaccurate notice of improper conduct by the tenants, entering the property without proper notice, engaging in noise pollution, destroying the renter’s property, and more.
Some property owners engage in such activities to intimidate tenants, force them to move out, or break their leases. Areas with strict rent control often face the most landlord harassment, as the law often prevents them from raising their rates beyond a specific amount when they still have tenants. Thus, it is much easier to create a nuisance that forces their current renters to leave so they can accommodate higher-paying tenants. Such actions are not only ethically wrong but also legal violations that renters can take up in court.
How To Deal With Harassment From Landlords
Ask Your Landlord To Stop
One of the first things you should do in such a situation is to your landlord outrightly to stop the harassment. If they’re unaware of your rights, you may enlighten them and threaten them with a lawsuit, significantly if their actions fall under one of the reasons tenants can rightfully sue. Although a verbal confrontation can be enough to reset their behavior, sending them a written note would be best.
The printed document should outline everything you consider harassment, such as delaying repairs, entering your apartment without notice, and withholding housing amenities. In addition, you can retain a physical copy of such a complaint and their reply as proof should you decide to take legal action.
Whether or not you plan to sue, it’s always a good idea to store records of your landlord’s harassment. The last thing you want is to decide to take legal action later on without sufficient evidence to back your case. Thus, it would be in your best interest to keep an ongoing diary of all the property owners’ transgressions. In addition, adding photographic and video evidence can strengthen your case, so feel free to store those in the cloud.
If the first two steps are ineffective in getting your landlord to stop harassing you, you might have to take more drastic measures. Seek out the aid of a reputable lawyer. With an expert solicitor in your corner, you can get better advice on dealing with the problem. Of course, you can always apply for legal aid if you’re worried about the cost. Besides, if you have enough evidence and a good lawyer, you can sue your landlord for damages and legal fees. That means the court will mandate the property owner to pay your lawyer’s bill.
Regarding harassment issues, most lawyers advise their clients to file an injunction against their landlords. An injunction is a legal court order issued by a judge as a cease-and-desist to order someone to stop something. A solicitor can help you with the necessary paperwork and help it pass, especially if you have records of the harassment. Should the property owner violate the injunction’s terms, they could risk paying a heavy fine or even jail time.
Living in a house with a landlord that creates an intentionally hostile environment can be difficult. However, there’s no need for you to suffer in silence. On the contrary, landlord harassment is one of the main reasons tenants can rightfully sue their landlords. If the property owner withholds basic amenities from you, destroys your property, or makes threats, you can take legal action. Although, before contacting a lawyer, you should send a written warning and collect evidence to back your claims.